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Best Famous Haiku Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Haiku poems. This is a select list of the best famous Haiku poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Haiku poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of haiku poems.

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Written by Matsuo Basho | Create an image from this poem

In the twilight rain

In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus . . .
A lovely sunset
Written by Matsuo Basho | Create an image from this poem

From time to time

From time to time
The clouds give rest
To the moon-beholders.
Written by Jack Kerouac | Create an image from this poem

Haiku

 The taste
 of rain
—Why kneel?
Written by Robert Pinsky | Create an image from this poem

Impossible To Tell

 to Robert Hass and in memory of Elliot Gilbert


Slow dulcimer, gavotte and bow, in autumn,
Bashõ and his friends go out to view the moon;
In summer, gasoline rainbow in the gutter,

The secret courtesy that courses like ichor
Through the old form of the rude, full-scale joke,
Impossible to tell in writing.
"Bashõ" He named himself, "Banana Tree": banana After the plant some grateful students gave him, Maybe in appreciation of his guidance Threading a long night through the rules and channels Of their collaborative linking-poem Scored in their teacher's heart: live, rigid, fluid Like passages etched in a microscopic cicuit.
Elliot had in his memory so many jokes They seemed to breed like microbes in a culture Inside his brain, one so much making another It was impossible to tell them all: In the court-culture of jokes, a top banana.
Imagine a court of one: the queen a young mother, Unhappy, alone all day with her firstborn child And her new baby in a squalid apartment Of too few rooms, a different race from her neighbors.
She tells the child she's going to kill herself.
She broods, she rages.
Hoping to distract her, The child cuts capers, he sings, he does imitations Of different people in the building, he jokes, He feels if he keeps her alive until the father Gets home from work, they'll be okay till morning.
It's laughter versus the bedroom and the pills.
What is he in his efforts but a courtier? Impossible to tell his whole delusion.
In the first months when I had moved back East From California and had to leave a message On Bob's machine, I used to make a habit Of telling the tape a joke; and part-way through, I would pretend that I forgot the punchline, Or make believe that I was interrupted-- As though he'd be so eager to hear the end He'd have to call me back.
The joke was Elliot's, More often than not.
The doctors made the blunder That killed him some time later that same year.
One day when I got home I found a message On my machine from Bob.
He had a story About two rabbis, one of them tall, one short, One day while walking along the street together They see the corpse of a Chinese man before them, And Bob said, sorry, he forgot the rest.
Of course he thought that his joke was a dummy, Impossible to tell--a dead-end challenge.
But here it is, as Elliot told it to me: The dead man's widow came to the rabbis weeping, Begging them, if they could, to resurrect him.
Shocked, the tall rabbi said absolutely not.
But the short rabbi told her to bring the body Into the study house, and ordered the shutters Closed so the room was night-dark.
Then he prayed Over the body, chanting a secret blessing Out of Kabala.
"Arise and breathe," he shouted; But nothing happened.
The body lay still.
So then The little rabbi called for hundreds of candles And danced around the body, chanting and praying In Hebrew, then Yiddish, then Aramaic.
He prayed In Turkish and Egyptian and Old Galician For nearly three hours, leaping about the coffin In the candlelight so that his tiny black shoes Seemed not to touch the floor.
With one last prayer Sobbed in the Spanish of before the Inquisition He stopped, exhausted, and looked in the dead man's face.
Panting, he raised both arms in a mystic gesture And said, "Arise and breathe!" And still the body Lay as before.
Impossible to tell In words how Elliot's eyebrows flailed and snorted Like shaggy mammoths as--the Chinese widow Granting permission--the little rabbi sang The blessing for performing a circumcision And removed the dead man's foreskin, chanting blessings In Finnish and Swahili, and bathed the corpse From head to foot, and with a final prayer In Babylonian, gasping with exhaustion, He seized the dead man's head and kissed the lips And dropped it again and leaping back commanded, "Arise and breathe!" The corpse lay still as ever.
At this, as when Bashõ's disciples wind Along the curving spine that links the renga Across the different voices, each one adding A transformation according to the rules Of stasis and repetition, all in order And yet impossible to tell beforehand, Elliot changes for the punchline: the wee Rabbi, still panting, like a startled boxer, Looks at the dead one, then up at all those watching, A kind of Mel Brooks gesture: "Hoo boy!" he says, "Now that's what I call really dead.
" O mortal Powers and princes of earth, and you immortal Lords of the underground and afterlife, Jehovah, Raa, Bol-Morah, Hecate, Pluto, What has a brilliant, living soul to do with Your harps and fires and boats, your bric-a-brac And troughs of smoking blood? Provincial stinkers, Our languages don't touch you, you're like that mother Whose small child entertained her to beg her life.
Possibly he grew up to be the tall rabbi, The one who washed his hands of all those capers Right at the outset.
Or maybe he became The author of these lines, a one-man renga The one for whom it seems to be impossible To tell a story straight.
It was a routine Procedure.
When it was finished the physicians Told Sandra and the kids it had succeeded, But Elliot wouldn't wake up for maybe an hour, They should go eat.
The two of them loved to bicker In a way that on his side went back to Yiddish, On Sandra's to some Sicilian dialect.
He used to scold her endlessly for smoking.
When she got back from dinner with their children The doctors had to tell them about the mistake.
Oh swirling petals, falling leaves! The movement Of linking renga coursing from moment to moment Is meaning, Bob says in his Haiku book.
Oh swirling petals, all living things are contingent, Falling leaves, and transient, and they suffer.
But the Universal is the goal of jokes, Especially certain ethnic jokes, which taper Down through the swirling funnel of tongues and gestures Toward their preposterous Ithaca.
There's one A journalist told me.
He heard it while a hero Of the South African freedom movement was speaking To elderly Jews.
The speaker's own right arm Had been blown off by right-wing letter-bombers.
He told his listeners they had to cast their ballots For the ANC--a group the old Jews feared As "in with the Arabs.
" But they started weeping As the old one-armed fighter told them their country Needed them to vote for what was right, their vote Could make a country their children could return to From London and Chicago.
The moved old people Applauded wildly, and the speaker's friend Whispered to the journalist, "It's the Belgian Army Joke come to life.
" I wish I could tell it To Elliot.
In the Belgian Army, the feud Between the Flemings and Walloons grew vicious, So out of hand the army could barely function.
Finally one commander assembled his men In one great room, to deal with things directly.
They stood before him at attention.
"All Flemings," He ordered, "to the left wall.
" Half the men Clustered to the left.
"Now all Walloons," he ordered, "Move to the right.
" An equal number crowded Against the right wall.
Only one man remained At attention in the middle: "What are you, soldier?" Saluting, the man said, "Sir, I am a Belgian.
" "Why, that's astonishing, Corporal--what's your name?" Saluting again, "Rabinowitz," he answered: A joke that seems at first to be a story About the Jews.
But as the renga describes Religious meaning by moving in drifting petals And brittle leaves that touch and die and suffer The changing winds that riffle the gutter swirl, So in the joke, just under the raucous music Of Fleming, Jew, Walloon, a courtly allegiance Moves to the dulcimer, gavotte and bow, Over the banana tree the moon in autumn-- Allegiance to a state impossible to tell.
Written by Matsuo Basho | Create an image from this poem

The old pond

 Following are several translations
of the 'Old Pond' poem, which may be
the most famous of all haiku:

Furuike ya 
kawazu tobikomu 
mizu no oto

 -- Basho



Literal Translation

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya, 
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into) 
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)






 The old pond--
a frog jumps in,
 sound of water.
Translated by Robert Hass Old pond.
.
.
a frog jumps in water's sound.
Translated by William J.
Higginson An old silent pond.
.
.
A frog jumps into the pond, splash! Silence again.
Translated by Harry Behn There is the old pond! Lo, into it jumps a frog: hark, water's music! Translated by John Bryan The silent old pond a mirror of ancient calm, a frog-leaps-in splash.
Translated by Dion O'Donnol old pond frog leaping splash Translated by Cid Corman Antic pond-- frantic frog jumps in-- gigantic sound.
Translated by Bernard Lionel Einbond MAFIA HIT MAN POET: NOTE FOUND PINNED TO LAPEL OF DROWNED VICTIM'S DOUBLE-BREASTED SUIT!!! 'Dere wasa dis frogg Gone jumpa offa da logg Now he inna bogg.
' -- Anonymous Translated by George M.
Young, Jr.
Old pond leap -- splash a frog.
Translated by Lucien Stryck The old pond, A frog jumps in:.
Plop! Translated by Allan Watts The old pond, yes, and A frog is jumping into The water, and splash.
Translated by G.
S.
Fraser
Written by Jack Kerouac | Create an image from this poem

Haiku

 Birds singing
 in the dark
—Rainy dawn.
Written by Emanuel Xavier | Create an image from this poem

A SIMPLE POEM

 I want you to continue writing
because I will not always be around

With lips that will never touch mine
read your poems out loud
so that the words are left engraved 
on the wall
make me feel your voice rush through me
like a breeze from Oyá

I want to hear about Puerto Rico
about sisters with names like La Bruja
about educating youth about AIDS
I want to hear about life 
in the Boogie Down Bronx
surviving on the Down Low
don't leave out stories about men
you have loved and still love

I want you to write poems that you 
will never read
press hard on the paper 
so that the ink runs deep
hold the pen tight 
so that you control the details
prove to me that I inspire you
reveal yourself between the lines
hear my praise 
with each flicker of the candle
Write a poem for me

Do not choose a fresh page 
from a brand new journal
use paper that has been crumbled and tossed
thrown out by a spineless father 
only to be recycled
Save a tree for future poets to write under

Rewrite me into someone more attractive
stronger than life has made me
make me tough and sexy, 
aggressive like a tiger
stain the pages with cum, 
lube, the arousal you find
at the sight of naked boys, draw me sketches
bring the words to life with images
make me a man with this poem

Read it in front of the audience
with hidden messages just for me
be real and tell me why
I am only worth a haiku

Your epics are meant for others
I already know,
use red ink to match the blood 
from these wounds
with brutal honesty
let me die with your last sentence

Then resurrect me with rhyme
read from your gut
let me hear the wisdom of mi abuelo 
in your voice
let me find my father in you
remind me of all the men 
that left me broken promises

In your eyes I want to see a poem
when you bring me to tears
with painful memories
buried beneath your thick skin

Between teeth gapped like divas,
I want to hear quotes from books
I never read

Make me believe you want to be a poet

Make my heart break,
tell me why you could never love me
with just a few words
leave me lost and insecure
feel the admiration of others
bask in their desire
forget that I am there

Pound your fists in the air with passion
go off about politics, poverty, 
machismo and hate
scream poems that don't give a fuck
about traditions, slamming or scores
save your whispers 
for those who make love to you

Write a poem for me 
that makes me want to puff a joint

A poem that loses control
unafraid to be vulnerable
for once just make me believe
it is all worth letting go
when the smoke clears
I will understand
the reason 
I am just another face 
in the crowd

I want you to continue writing
because I will not always be around
Written by Jack Kerouac | Create an image from this poem

Haiku

 The low yellow
 moon above the
Quiet lamplit house
Written by Barry Tebb | Create an image from this poem

MY PERFECT ROSE

 At ten she came to me, three years ago,

There was ‘something between us’ even then;

Watching her write like Eliot every day,

Turn prose into haiku in ten minutes flat,

Write a poem in Greek three weeks from learning the alphabet;

Then translate it as ‘Sun on a tomb, gold place, small sacred horse’.
I never got over having her in the room, though Every day she was impossible in a new way, Stamping her foot like a naughty Enid Blyton child, Shouting "Poets don’t do arithmetic!" Or drawing caricatures of me in her book.
Then there were the ‘moments of vision’, her eyes Dissolving the blank walls and made-up faces, Genius painfully going through her paces, The skull she drew, the withered chrysanthemum And scarlet rose, ‘Descensus averno’, like Virgil, I supposed.
Now three years later, in nylons and tight skirt, She returns from grammar school to make a chaos of my room; Plaiting a rose in her hair, I remember the words of her poem - ‘For love is wrong/in word, in deed/But you will be mine’ And now her promise to come the last two days of term, "But not tell them", the diamond bomb exploding In her eyes, the key left ‘Accidentally’ on my desk And the faint surprise.
Written by Billy Collins | Create an image from this poem

Japan

 Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.
It feels like eating the same small, perfect grape again and again.
I walk through the house reciting it and leave its letters falling through the air of every room.
I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.
I listen to myself saying it, then I say it without listening, then I hear it without saying it.
And when the dog looks up at me, I kneel down on the floor and whisper it into each of his long white ears.
It's the one about the one-ton temple bell with the moth sleeping on its surface, and every time I say it, I feel the excruciating pressure of the moth on the surface of the iron bell.
When I say it at the window, the bell is the world and I am the moth resting there.
When I say it at the mirror, I am the heavy bell and the moth is life with its papery wings.
And later, when I say it to you in the dark, you are the bell, and I am the tongue of the bell, ringing you, and the moth has flown from its line and moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

Haiku (Never Published)

 Drinking my tea
Without sugar-
 No difference.
The sparrow shits upside down --ah! my brain & eggs Mayan head in a Pacific driftwood bole --Someday I'll live in N.
Y.
Looking over my shoulder my behind was covered with cherry blossoms.
Winter Haiku I didn't know the names of the flowers--now my garden is gone.
I slapped the mosquito and missed.
What made me do that? Reading haiku I am unhappy, longing for the Nameless.
A frog floating in the drugstore jar: summer rain on grey pavements.
(after Shiki) On the porch in my shorts; auto lights in the rain.
Another year has past-the world is no different.
The first thing I looked for in my old garden was The Cherry Tree.
My old desk: the first thing I looked for in my house.
My early journal: the first thing I found in my old desk.
My mother's ghost: the first thing I found in the living room.
I quit shaving but the eyes that glanced at me remained in the mirror.
The madman emerges from the movies: the street at lunchtime.
Cities of boys are in their graves, and in this town.
.
.
Lying on my side in the void: the breath in my nose.
On the fifteenth floor the dog chews a bone- Screech of taxicabs.
A hardon in New York, a boy in San Fransisco.
The moon over the roof, worms in the garden.
I rent this house.
[Haiku composed in the backyard cottage at 1624 Milvia Street, Berkeley 1955, while reading R.
H.
Blyth's 4 volumes, "Haiku.
"]
Written by Matsuo Basho | Create an image from this poem

An old silent pond..

An old silent pond...
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again. 
Written by Masaoka Shiki | Create an image from this poem

Toward those short trees

Toward those short trees
We saw a hawk descending
On a day in spring
Written by Natsume Soseki | Create an image from this poem

Over the wintry

Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in rage
with no leaves to blow.
Written by Matsuo Basho | Create an image from this poem

Four Haiku

 Spring:
A hill without a name
Veiled in morning mist.
The beginning of autumn: Sea and emerald paddy Both the same green.
The winds of autumn Blow: yet still green The chestnut husks.
A flash of lightning: Into the gloom Goes the heron's cry.